***May contain mild thematic spoilers about the television show 13 Reasons Why***
The first season of 13 Reasons Why was solely focused on suicide and bullying, and the second season centered around the fallout and escalating school violence. Although Season 3’s murder mystery features trust, secrets, and lies at its core, it continues to weave in recurring themes of suicide, bullying, and abuse throughout the redemption arcs and character growth processes. The common problem that comes up in every season’s storyline is that pain is the source of mental health issues for the students of Liberty High...and the adults aren’t seeing it.
Over the past three seasons of the show, suicide has presented itself in three stages: suicide, a failed suicide attempt, and a serious consideration by more than one character who felt that there was no other way out from their pain. Though the series can be over-dramatized and glamorized, the issues that the characters go through are prevalent for teenagers in the real world. The show brings attention to assault, abuse, bullying, addiction, depression, and other factors that lead to self-harm and thoughts of suicide. When looking at how these characters represent actual stats, the numbers don’t lie.
- Nearly 1 in 5 teens has seriously considered suicide.
- 7.4% of high school students have made a suicide attempt.
- In 2017, there were 6,769 suicides among youth ages 10-24.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10-24.
We wrote about this show in 2017 when it first aired, but with the series evolving and our products expanding, we recently launched GoGuardian Beacon to help identify warning signs from online activity and alert school authorities when there’s a concern. Beacon supports schools’ efforts self-harm and suicide prevention by meeting students where they’re most active: online.
Sometimes kids need help asking for help, and it’s up to the adults to pay attention to the attempts and the warning signs. They need us to listen, even when they’re hiding what they’re doing. Those who are silently suffering may be the ones calling out the loudest. Suicide and self-harm are preventable if we are noticing and intervening, and Suicide Prevention Month is the time to bring attention to what we can do to best serve our students in need.
This Suicide Prevention infographic provides a list of warning signs and ways to help. We invite you to save it, print it, and share it wherever you’d like.
If you or someone you know is suicidal, get help immediately via 911, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255, or text TALK to 741741 to text with a trained crisis counselor from the Crisis Text Line for free, 24/7.